English roots rock band the Nelson Brothers comprised Steve Nelson (vocals/guitar), Simon Nelson (guitar, dulcimer, keyboards and sitar), Ben Nicholls (bass) and Andrew Tween (drums/marimba). Their music combined the ethnic traditions of New Orleans Cajun, Celtic folk and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, accompanied by the brothers’ lucid songwriting. The Nelsons grew up in Stafford, West Midlands, England, where they were members of various local bands as teenagers. Culling influences from the albums of Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, as well as jazz and rock, they began to write their own songs together while still teenagers. Their first group was entitled Alias, whose live repertoire included songs drawn from the songbooks of the Byrds and Rolling Stones as well as originals. Alias won both the ‘new talent’ and ‘songwriting’ categories of a national competition sponsored by Pye Records, but split due to musical differences before recording. The brothers then journeyed to Amsterdam, Netherlands, together as the first stage in a round-the-world trek, taking in Europe, North Africa, America and finally Bermuda (becoming residents at the Bermuda Folk Club). Upon returning to England they took up college courses (Steve reaching gold medal standard at the London Academy Of Music and Dramatic Art while Simon studied jazz guitar and composition). In 1983 Simon spent a year in Australia, working with acts such as the Arizona Smoke Revue, before he returned to England in the following year to team up with Steve again, fresh from another stint in Bermuda. The late 80s saw them back at college, both achieving Bachelor and Masters degrees, and in 1990 they built their own demo/jingle studio. They also set about forging a proper band together, with the aforementioned line-up the eventual result. Their debut album arrived in November 1993, with studio guests including Abdul Tee Jay (from Sierra Leone), Geraint Watkins (accordion) and Sugar Hajischacalli (bouzouki). The title track, ‘Hometown’, was written in collaboration with Steve Booker.
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